HC Deb 22 March 1948 vol 448 cc2560-1
25. Mr. Teeling

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign 'Affairs whether he is aware that there are large numbers of British-born women married to Czechoslovak citizens living in Czechoslovakia who will be entitled, as soon as the British Nationality Bill has become an Act, to repatriation to this country; and whether, in view of the present serious situation in Czechoslovakia, anything can be done to bring them home before the Bill has become law.

Mr. Mayhew

My right hon. Friend is well aware that when the British Nationality Bill becomes law a number of British-born women who have lost British nationality by marriage to Czechoslovak and other foreign nationals will receive back their British nationality. Those who have acquired Czechoslovak nationality, however, will not thereby cease to be Czechoslovak nationals, and consequently any general arrangement for removing them from Czechoslovakia, should the need arise, would require the co-operation of the Czechoslovak authorities. I am, however, informed that an indication has been given by the Czechoslovak authorities that no difficulties will be placed in the way of British-born women wishing to leave Czechoslovakia.

Mr. Teeling

The hon. Gentleman says that no difficulty will be placed in the way. Does that mean that no difficulties are being placed in the way at the present time, and is it not true that several British-born wives, in the last few days, as I understand, and according to the newspapers, were stopped from coming over here, due to their visas not being in order?

Mr. Mayhew

It may be that, for a routine reason, such as visas not being in order, there was some delay, but, in general, we have been told to expect cooperation from the Czech authorities in this matter.

Mr. Molson

When these British-born wives of Czechs return to this country, will the Czech authorities allow their husbands to come with them?

Mr. Mayhew

I should need notice of that question.